Alfalfa can be a highly managed crop with tight cutting windows and limited weed control options. As producers strive for higher alfalfa crop yield, technologies for improved establishment, weed management and flexibility become even more critical to an optimized stand.
When deciding whether or not to add Roundup Ready® Alfalfa to your production system, it’s important to consider how easily this technology can mesh with your current practices. Since Roundup Ready® Alfalfa entered the market, I’ve been impressed with how it complements traditional methods and offers alfalfa producers the best of both worlds. Here are a few things I’ve noticed over the years:
- More alfalfa production options. You have more freedom to plant alfalfa and control weeds the way you want to. Whether or not you decide to use an oats cover crop when establishing your alfalfa stand for soil erosion control, Roundup Ready® Alfalfa makes it easier to keep weeds from competing with young seedlings for a denser, more uniform and more vigorous stand.
- Better stand establishment. By controlling competitive weed populations at the start, you’re able to achieve a more consistent and reliable alfalfa stand. This helps eliminate thin alfalfa density and patchy or bare spots in your field due to weeds. With a higher percentage of stand covered by alfalfa, yield and profit potential can be increased.
- More oats removal options. If you want to use an oats cover crop for erosion control during alfalfa establishment, you can apply glyphosate to terminate the oats before they get too tall, usually by 30 days after planting. Or if rain delays your glyphosate application, you can take the oat crop as oatlage, spraying the oat stubble and any emerged weeds 10 days after oatlage harvest. This practice allows you to create an excellent stand of alfalfa for the life of the stand.
- More fall weed control options. Spraying glyphosate on Roundup Ready® Alfalfa in the fall helps control problem winter annual weeds for next spring. The farmers I’ve worked with have been amazed at how well a fall treatment works at eliminating weed problems the next spring.